Monday, March 7, 2011

Unfulfilled expectations

The sermon at church this week was on Mark 8.
It was striking how many times Jesus stumped people's expectations about the way things should be. They had a "common sense" reading of the Old Testament and view of the Kingdom of God. The Jews were expecting a Messiah who would storm Jerusalem with overwhelming military force and rid them of Roman rule and external domination once for all. He would be royalty, not the child of a Galilean carpenter, who had been born in a stable.

Even Peter, one of Jesus' closest disciples, had similar expectations. He confessed Jesus as "The Christ, the Son of God" but then had the hubris to tell Jesus the way things should be!
 31 [Jesus] began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32   .... And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and seeing his disciples, [Jesus] rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
 The painting is "Out of my sight, Satan" by James Tissot.

Later Jesus further shows the strange logic and economics of the Kingdom of God:
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake  and the gospel’s will save it. 

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